Why this book?
John Berger taught us to see art in a new way. His acclaimed BBC series changed the way art was shown on TV. Contemplating art included looking around and finding remarkable images being used in plain situations. In his book, Here is where we meet he placed a heart-touching short story in Lisboa, my adored city. I realised that we had often crossed the same roads and parks, enjoyed the same views. I was conquered. In Bento’s Sketchbook, Berger searches for the mind of Baruch (Bento) Spinoza, one of the most enigmatic philosophers of the 17th century. It is nice to follow this book by reading Antonio Damásio’s Looking for Spinoza, Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain. Berger also mentions Damásio, describing what goes on in his mind and body when drawing. The Dutch Philosopher, a member of the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam, had a rich work that was able to offer to Berger a door for an early modern ethic. He also sketches and talks about how he draws unassumingly, imagining how Spinoza would use his own mythical sketchbook. Unassumingly doing things is part of a soft power ethical that is condensed in the idea of respecting others.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
For years, without knowing what its pages might hold, John Berger has imagined finding Bento's sketchbook, wanting to see the drawings alongside his surviving words. When one day a friend gave him a beautiful virgin sketchbook, Berger said, "This is Bento's!" and he began to draw, taking his inspiration from the philosopher's vision.
In this illustrated color book John Berger…